Understanding People’s Use of and Perspectives on Mood-Tracking Apps: Interview Study
Background: Supporting mental health and wellness is of increasing interest due to a growing recognition of the prevalence and burden of mental health issues. Mood is a central aspect of mental health, and several technologies, especially mobile apps, have helped people track and understand it. However, despite formative work on and dissemination of mood-tracking apps, it is not well understood how mood-tracking apps used in real-world contexts might benefit people and what people hope to gain from them.
Objective: To address this gap, the purpose of this study was to understand motivations for and experiences in using mood-tracking apps from people who used them in real-world contexts.
Methods: We interviewed 22 participants who had used mood-tracking apps using a semistructured interview and card sorting task. The interview focused on their experiences using a mood-tracking app. We then conducted a card sorting task using screenshots of various data entry and data review features from mood-tracking apps. We used thematic analysis to identify themes around why people use mood-tracking apps, what they found useful about them, and where people felt these apps fell short.
Results: Users of mood-tracking apps were primarily motivated by negative life events or shifts in their own mental health that prompted them to engage in tracking and improve their situation. In general, participants felt that using a mood-tracking app facilitated self-awareness and helped them to look back on a previous emotion or mood experience to understand what was happening. Interestingly, some users reported less inclination to document their negative mood states and preferred to document their positive moods. There was a range of preferences for personalization and simplicity of tracking. Overall, users also liked features in which their previous tracked emotions and moods were visualized in figures or calendar form to understand trends. One gap in available mood-tracking apps was the lack of app-facilitated recommendations or suggestions for how to interpret their own data or improve their mood.
Conclusions: Although people find various features of mood-tracking apps helpful, the way people use mood-tracking apps, such as avoiding entering negative moods, tracking infrequently, or wanting support to understand or change their moods, demonstrate opportunities for improvement. Understanding why and how people are using current technologies can provide insights to guide future designs and implementations.
This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Trauma · New York Times Opinion
“Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago,” writes Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. “The emotions and physical sensations that were imprinted during the trauma are experienced not as memories but as disruptive physical reactions in the present.”
Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist by training, has been a pioneer in trauma research for decades now and leads the Trauma Research Foundation. His 2014 book
quickly became a touchstone on the topic. And although the book was first released seven years ago, it now sits at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, a testament to the state of our national psyche.
The core argument of the book is that traumatic experiences — everything from sexual assault and incest to emotional and physical abuse — become embedded in the older, more primal parts of our brain that don’t have access to conscious awareness. And that means two things simultaneously. First, that trauma lodges in the body. We carry a physical imprint of our psychic wounds. The body keeps the score. But — and I found this more revelatory — the mind hides the score. It obscures the memories, or convinces us our victimization was our fault, or covers the event in shame so we don’t discuss it.
There’s a lot in this conversation. We discuss the lived experience of trauma, the relationship between the mind and the body, the differences between our “experiencing” and “autobiographical” selves, why van der Kolk believes human language is both a “miracle” and a “tyranny,” unconventional treatments for trauma from
and yoga to psychedelics and theater, how societies can manage collective trauma like 9/11 and Covid-19, the shortcomings of America’s “post-alcoholic” approach to dealing with psychic suffering, how to navigate the often complex relationships with the traumatized people we know and love, and much more.
What's your happiness score? | Dominic Price · TED
How do you rediscover a happier, more purpose-driven (and less productivity-obsessed) self in the wake of the pandemic? Quiz yourself alongside work futurist Dominic Price as he lays out a simple yet insightful four-part guide to assessing your life in ways that can help you reconnect with what's really important.
Dr. Anna Lembke: Understanding & Treating Addiction | Episode 33 · Dr. Andrew Huberman
This episode I interview Dr. Anna Lembke, MD, Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Lembke is a psychiatrist expert in treating addictions of all kinds: drugs, alcohol, food, sex, video games, gambling, food, medication, etc. Dr. Lembke is also an expert in the opioid crisis, and the author of Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.
We discuss the biology and psychology of why people become addicted to certain substances and behaviors and the key role that our "dopamine balance" plays in creating addiction. We also discuss the science and practice of how to conquer addictions, why people relapse and how to avoid relapsing. Dr. Lembke also shares her expertise on topics closely related to addiction such as community, shame and lying and she explains why telling the truth—even about the most basic things in daily life, adjusts dopamine levels in our brain.
This episode is an important one for anyone struggling with addictions of any kind, for their friends and families and for health care professionals. It is also for anyone who has defeated addiction and is determined to stay clean. Last but not least, it helps explain why all humans do what we do, and how we can all maintain a healthy sense of pleasure seeking in life.
37. Sendhil Mullainathan Thinks Messing Around is the Best Use of Your Time · Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher
He’s a professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and author. Steve and Sendhil laugh their way through a conversation about the importance of play, the benefits of change, and why we remember so little about the books we’ve read — and how Sendhil’s new app solves this problem.
Spotify – You Will Never Breathe the Same Again - Your Undivided Attention | Podcast on Spotify
When author and journalist James Nestor began researching a piece on free diving, he was stunned. He found that free divers could hold their breath for up to 8 minutes at a time, and dive to depths of 350 feet on a single breath. As he dug into the history of breath, he discovered that our industrialized lives have led to improper and mindless breathing, with cascading consequences from sleep apnea to reduced mobility. He also discovered an entire world of extraordinary feats achieved through proper and mindful breathing — including healing scoliosis, rejuvenating organs, halting snoring, and even enabling greater sovereignty in our use of technology. What is the transformative potential of breath? And what is the relationship between proper breathing and humane technology?